France s competition authority on Monday opened an inquiry into possible antitrust issues in the online-advertising market, saying it will examine the market power of Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc. s Google.
The Autorité de la Concurrence said its inquiry, which it expects to complete next year, will examine the role of the thicket of firms that help advertisers and websites buy and sell ads targeted at people and based on their demographic backgrounds and Web-browsing habits.
The probe will also look at whether some firms, including Facebook and Google, have dominant positions in the online advertising market, which continues to grow rapidly.
The probe highlights the growing interest by European antitrust regulators in the role played by big Internet companies and the large sets of personal data they collect about individuals.
A French sector inquiry doesn t begin with the assumption that there is a market problem that needs resolution or there is anticompetitive behavior.
But France s competition authority, one of the world s most active, has at times issued recommendations and launched antitrust probes into companies on the back of such sector inquiries.